Liverpool still key rival for Scholes
LONDON (dpa) – Liverpool may not be the force they once were, but Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes insisted they remain the league leaders’ biggest rivals.
They meet at Old Trafford on Sunday in the pick of the weekend Premier League fixtures.
“Whether Manchester City have overtaken Liverpool now (as United’s biggest rivals), I don’t know … it’ll probably take years for City to create what Liverpool have done,” Scholes said.
“But Liverpool historically are our biggest rivals, they’re always the biggest games and the best atmospheres. But I’m sure City will run them close.”
Liverpool, while still not entirely convincing, have found some measure of consistency, winning five of their last eight league games.
City lie seven points behind their Manchester rivals at the top of the table and were rocked last week by scenes of a training ground bust-up between manager Roberto Mancini and forward Mario Balotelli.
Sergio Aguero will miss Sunday’s game against Arsenal with a hamstring injury.
Arsenal are sixth in the table but midfielder Jack Wilshere insisted the players are not feeling the pressure as they seek to qualify for the Champions League.
“We have got a tough few games but we know in England that this time of the year is so important,” he said.
Third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who lie six points behind City, travel to bottom club Queen’s Park Rangers, who kindled hopes they could avoid relegation with a shock victory at Chelsea last time out.
The position of their centre-back Ryan Nelsen remains unclear after he was appointed coach of MLS side Toronto.
Reading, in second bottom, host West Bromwich Albion, while Wigan Athletic, the other team in the drop zone, go to Fulham, themselves haunted by relegation fears.
Aston Villa, reeling from their Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford City, entertain Southampton, while free-falling Newcastle United, who have lost nine of their last 11 games, are at Norwich City.